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Syrian Rebels and Kurd Militia Clash
by James Dunnigan
November 27, 2012

Syrian Sunni Arab rebels have fought several battles with a Syrian Kurd militia in the village of Yazi Bah (Yazi Bagh), Aleppo (Halab) province. Yazi Bah is a Kurdish village north of the city of Aleppo, near the Syria-Turkey, just south of the Turkish city of Kilis. It is also due north of the Syrian rebel-controlled town of, Aazaz (A’zaz). The rebels have used Aazaz as a base. What initiated the fighting? Stories conflict. A human rights organization claimed that a rebel group tortured and killed a Syrian Kurd the rebels captured near another village. Why the rebels thought it necessary to arrest the Kurd is not known, but Arab Sunni rebel fighters in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have claimed for several months that several Syrian Kurdish militias are pro-Assad dictatorship and that in the last few weeks some of the Kurd militias have taken steps to prevent rebel groups from moving through their territory. Check the map. Yazi Bah is perfectly sited to interdict supplies moving south from Turkey to Aazaz. For months the FSA has said that it has evidence that Kurdish militias have made a deal with the Assad government. Turkey considers these pro-Assad Kurd militias to be aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).  The pro-PKK Kurdish group in Syria is the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).  The PYD is allegedly supporting what are called Syrian Kurdish YPG militias (YPG an acronym for "unit for the protection of the people” or popular protection unit). YPGs are found in several Syrian Kurdish villages and towns. There are around two million Syrian Kurds, constituting around 15 percent of the population of Syria, but they are the dominant ethnic group in Syria’s north-eastern triangle. The triangle (basically Hasaka province) borders Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish region and northern Iraq, which is also predominantly Kurdish. Ethnic Kurds also live in areas between Aleppo and the Turkish border (in villages like Yazi Bah). The border firefights between Syrian Kurd militias and Arab rebel fighters in the region north of Aleppo follow several violent clashes between FSA rebels and Kurds in the Syrian town of Aleppo. (Some sources identify the Kurdish militia in Aleppo as a YPG.) Syrian sources claimed that three-dozen people were killed in a battle between FSA rebels and a PYD militia in Aleppo on October 26. (Austin Bay)

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